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Course content

If you are post-registration, completing the postgraduate diploma allows you to specialise in district nursing and primary care practice. You gain the knowledge and skills required to work with varied, and often vulnerable people, in the primary care setting.

You develop your expertise as an autonomous practitioner and leader with an evidence-based skills set that meets the challenges of contemporary practice. There are many opportunities within the course to share learning from your peers and other disciplines from across the primary care team.

If you complete the postgraduate diploma award you gain a Postgraduate in Specialist Practice District Nursing. You then have the option to complete a dissertation and graduate with an MSc Nursing (specialist practice district nursing). Please note additional funding is required for you to go on and complete a further 60 credit dissertation module for the award of MSc.

Within the Postgraduate Diploma you complete a research-based module which prepares you for the MSc dissertation. This equips you to use policy and research to underpin and develop innovative practice and gives you the skills to frame a research question, take empirical research and write up an academic dissertation.

To meet the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) standards, your studies consists of 50% practice and 50% theory. We structure the postgraduate diploma to reflect the important balance of the practice elements, which are designated practice days or work-based learning. Consolidated practice enables you to work independently while remaining under the supervision of a practice teacher. The theoretical elements involve a mix of learning approaches including self-directed study days.

To gain the NMC recognised qualifications, you need to be sponsored by an employing organisation and have an appropriately qualified mentor or practice teacher allocated by the sponsoring trust to guide and assess your practice experience.

Study individual modules

You have the option to study individual modules from this course and gain academic credit towards a qualification. Visit our continuing professional development website for more information.

Professional recognition

Successfully completing the course allows you to be on the NMC register as a

  • specialist practitioner – district nursing
  • community practitioner – nurse prescriber

Course structure

Start date

  • PgDip – September
  • MSc – September or January

Postgraduate diploma core modules

  • Fundamentals of District Nursing
  • Nurse Prescribing
  • Enhancing the Quality of Services through Effective Collaborative practice
  • Research methods for practice
  • Advancing District Nursing Practice
  • The Advanced Critically thinking nurse leader
  • Evidence Based approaches to long term conditions 


  • dissertation (60 credits)


  • critiques/critical reflection
  • reports
  • essays
  • examinations
  • portfolio including reflection and practice assessment document
  • research projects, evaluation projects, service development projects, advanced professional practice projects and theoretical or literature based projects
  • e-activities (for distance learning)


As a graduate of this course your employment opportunities are wide-ranging and interesting, offering an exciting and varied career pathway. Graduates are prepared for a demanding and rewarding career as a Specialist Practice District Nurse, with opportunities to lead and manage integrated care teams or undertake complex case management and/or community matron roles. There is potential for you to work in a wide range of areas such as general practice, the independent sector, voluntary and charitable organisations.

Gaining the master's enhances your career development and enables you to undertake leadership and service improvement roles, or work at a strategic development level. It will enable you to undertake employment with key responsibilities in research, advanced community practice, service development and improvement and education.

Visit the Specialist Practice District Nursing MSc/PgDip page on the Sheffield Hallam University website for more details!




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